At St. Margaret’s we teach English as discrete lessons through reading, writing and spelling punctuation and grammar (SPAG). Underpinning all of this is a language rich environment which begins in the Early Years and transfers through the whole school. We believe that in order to understand what they are reading, and then to be able to write, children need to be immersed in high quality speaking, which happens through our interactions with them.
Learning to read and the love of reading is taught from the Early Years. We follow the twinkl phonics scheme which begins in Nursery with activities to encourage children’s speaking and listening skills. As children progress into Reception, we learn the sounds that letters make and begin to blend these together in order to read simple words. Daily phonics teaching continues throughout Key Stage 1. Children take a phonics screening check at the end of Year 1 and this is reported nationally. Phonics teaching continues in Key Stage 2 for those who need it and children have regular reading lessons both as a whole class, where children unpick texts using the reading domains, and in small groups through Reciprocal and Guided Reading. Children in all year groups take home individual reading books and are heard read regularly by adults across the school. In addition, children are read to often by adults across school both in classrooms and as part of collective worship..
In the Early Years, opportunities to write are embedded across all areas of our classroom and children are encouraged to see themselves as writers, writing for a range of different purposes. In our adult focused work, children are taught how to segment words and write the letters they can hear, progressing to writing captions and sentences with minimal adults support. We teach children to orally rehearse what they want to write. This ensures that they check their writing makes sense before putting pen to paper. As children progress through the school, they are taught a variety of different writing genres, including poetry. This is taught through the use of high quality children’s literature. By seeing themselves as authors, children are also taught how to edit their work to make it even better, following examples from some of our favourite writers, such as Tom Palmer.
CBeebies story time
PE, School Sports and Physical Activity (PESSPA) is highly valued at our school. Every class has at least 2 hours per week, and we have a range of activities to engage pupils and encourage healthy active lifestyles. We work hard to make PESSPA inclusive and available to all pupils throughout their time at school. Across their time at school pupils will participate in developing their movement skills, throwing and catching, swimming, participate in a range of traditional sports, as well as try some new ones- Yoga, Lacrosse, Tchoukball for example- and much, much more.. Extra curricular clubs and competitions are available for those who want to take their learning further. At playtimes and lunchtimes we encourage children to be active and provide equipment such as balls, hoops and skipping ropes to help. You should see some of our children skip!
Primary Stars and SuperMovers https://plprimarystars.com/
Aspire Sports Active Hub https://www.aspire-sports.co.uk/aspire-active-hub
Aspire Sports Maths on the Move activities https://www.aspire-sports.co.uk/programme/maths-move-home-challenges?dm_i=50H7,6OWX,FW1XZ,PCT4,1
At our school the study of history starts with our youngest pupils in Nursery and develops throughout a child’s time at school. In EYFS pupils learn about the meaning of the past and make some comparisons to modern times- comparing important people such as the Prime Minister now and then. Children learn about some exciting famous people from a range of cultures and assess the impact that they have made on our lives today. We study a history of Britain up to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings (arrow in the eye etc), but also significant events from later in British history such as the British Empire and the Battle of Britain. Our history journey also sees pupils learning about ancient cultures in China, Greece and Latin America, seeing how they compared with Britain at the time. Closer to home we have also worked hard to make parts of the pupils learning relevant to our community, looking at how Great Barr and Birmingham has changed through time.
Young Archaeologist Club https://www.yac-uk.org/
NEW History Podcasts https://www.historystorytime.com
The British Museum https://www.britishmuseum.org/
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag
Our aim is that pupils really enjoy their science learning and make great progress in science. We are developing the Scientists of the Future.
Science provides the foundations for understanding our world. A great science education is vital to the world’s future prosperity. Here at St. Margaret’s, pupils are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the world we live in. We use science to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave, and analyse causes… our favourite word is ‘why?’ and we love to investigate!
Pupils study the local environment and seasonal changes. When they are older, they look at the reasons for change. We experiment with the senses, and learn about light and sound. We study ourselves and different parts of our bodies, like the digestive and circulatory systems, muscles and bones… and we love to use technical vocabulary. When we do experiments, we like to think about practical applications – and we often link or apply our skills and knowledge to other subjects, like design and technology, mathematics and computing.
Here are some useful websites, with interesting videos, lectures and fun activities about how science affects all our lives on a daily basis:
At St Margaret’s we believe that music in all its forms plays an important role in developing children: emotionally, physically and socially. It supports and helps their wellbeing by triggering the release of feel good chemicals and can actually create more positive attitudes and can lift an individual’s mood. Music can also support long and short -term memory through remembering lyrics, pitch and rhythm which in turn, can be a tool to aid us to remember any subject efficiently. In fact, music whether listening to it or participating in it is something which is developed throughout a person’s lifetime and therefore it is vital that our children experience music in all its forms throughout their school life so that the benefits and enjoyment of it can be experienced. Therefore, we value music as a subject and realise its potential in future building blocks.
Music skills and knowledge are taught across school from Early Years to Year 6. We use a scheme called Charanga which includes many examples of music styles and genres from different times and places. These are explored through the language of music via active listening, performing and composing activities, which enable understanding of the context and genre. Charanga provides a classroom-based, participatory and inclusive approach to music learning. Pupils learn about different styles and genres of music and have opportunities to sing, compose and play tuned and untuned instruments.
Some pupils have weekly instrumental lessons in school delivered by peripatetic staff. Pupils have the opportunity to take music exams and be part of Sandwell Bands. In normal circumstances, towards the end of the academic year we have a music concert where pupils perform for family and friends. They also learn about the different families of instruments and use their listening skills to identify the sounds of strings, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.
We want to prepare our children to understand the world in which they live. Whether it’s discovering facts about how our local area has evolved or looking more globally. Topics often begin with and are based around questions to excite the children’s minds through discussion, exploring and drawing conclusions for themselves. Some examples are:
- Why Don’t Penguins Need to Fly?
- How Does the Weather Affect Our Lives?
- Beyond the Magic Kingdom – What is the Sunshine State Really Like?
We encourage the use of “precise geographical vocabulary” and as pupils move through the school their skills increase and improve. Our aim is to help them to become “global citizens” in an ever-changing world.
Up to date weather forecasts
Newsround world current events
The children’s section has many useful facts, activities and animations and includes sections on: air, energy, land, climate change, people and lifestyles, resources and waste, water and wildlife.
An introduction for key stage 2 on how maps work and how to interpret them. It includes these 8 sections: starting mapping, symbols, compasses and directions, grid references, understanding scale, measuring distance, relief and contour lines and compass bearings.
Local street maps including a ‘find my nearest’ function, which can be used to locate features e.g. schools, list them and link them to a map.
Search for local street maps by postcode, OS grid reference, place name or street name. Maps are extendable in eight compass directions.
Online mapping site which includes eye level ‘Street view’
Maps resized to show population sizes, income, etc.
Very child-friendly site for understanding development issues.
Excellent site for global citizenship issues. Children’s pages include details of the history, geography and environment, people and society and a fact file for 14 countries), ‘children’ (exploring the lives of children in less developed countries) and ‘food’ (issues such as farming and fair trade).
Design Technology at St Margaret’s CE school comprises of lots of fun, practical topics where the children can develop skills and knowledge about how things are made. We learn about different designers and famous inventions, and take part in a variety of exciting learning experiences including cooking, junk modelling, paper craft, sewing, woodwork, using electronics and architecture. In Reception we invite parents in to help children to create their own spoon scarecrow, in Year 1 children learn to develop sewing skills to make decorations; the Year 2 children make amazing vehicles using cardboard boxes and dowelling; Year 3 use their planning and creative skills to make their own photograph frames; Y4 create their own working torches; Y5 find out about the architecture of bridges and have a go at designing and building their own; and Y6 use saws and electronics to create moving fairground rides!
Useful websites for you at home
At St Margaret’s, we recognise the important of Computing skills across all aspects of modern-day life. Computing is an essential part of the curriculum and children at St. Margaret’s have access to a range of technology including: computers, laptops and iPads with weekly lessons taught from EYFS to year 6. Computing is also integrated in other subjects and has many cross-curricular links with Maths, English, Science and Art and Design. Our Computing curriculum has been designed to keep up to date with skills and knowledge needed for the ever-changing technical world to equip the children for the rest of their lives. At our school we teach three main areas of Computing: Computer Science, Information Technology and Digital Literacy. At the end of each topic, children produce fun, creative and memorable projects / pieces of work using a wide variety of different software and hardware. Online Safety is an important part of Computing as well as RSHE and children are regularly taught from EYFS to year 6 about how to be safe online and also be aware of the dangers they may come across online at school and at home. Children from KS2 have an opportunity to be part of St. Margaret’s Online Safety Team where they meet up to discuss Online Safety resources or materials, have an opportunity to lead whole school assemblies and create new displays and posters for the school.
Useful computing websites:
Computer Science unplugged: https://csunplugged.org/en/
KS1 BBC Bitesize: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zyhbwmn
KS2 BBC Bitesize: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zvnrq6f
Scratch Programming: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Useful Online Safety websites:
UK Safer Internet Centre: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/
Think U Know: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
Art at St Margaret’s is studied from foundation stage onwards. At key stage one, pupils develop their creativity and imagination by exploring the visual, textile and sensory qualities of materials and processes. This builds on from the area of creative development in the foundation stage. They learn about the role of art, craft and design in their environment and recognise it in other areas of the curriculum, e.g. symmetrical patterns in maths and famous artworks/artists in history. They begin to understand colour, shape and space in pattern and texture and use them to represent their ideas and feelings.
Moving on to key stage two, pupils develop their creativity and imagination through more complex activities. These help to build on their skills and improve their control of materials, tools and techniques. They increase their critical awareness of the roles and purposes of art, craft and design in different times and cultures. They become more confident in using visual and tactile elements and materials and processes to communicate what they see, feel and think.
Our expansive variety of topics that are offered, range from: Jungle Art in key stage one through to Shang Dynasty Masks in key stage two. An interesting selection of artists and designers such as: Clarice Cliff, Hokusai and Lowry allow for an engaging opportunity to gain influence from the work of others. There is something to capture everyone’s imagination at St Margaret’s School!
At St Margaret’s we believe RE and Worship are important and so we employ a Church worker who works in school two days per week as well as leading children’s services at St Margaret’s Church. RE is taught from Nursery to Year 6 and is taught each week. Our curriculum is focused mainly on Christianity where children learn about the Bible and stories such as the Lost Sheep, David and Goliath and The Good Samaritan. Our children also learn about other faiths in our teaching units such as Sacred Places, Pilgrimages, Holy Books and World Faiths. In years 5 and 6 we look at Global Christianity and Leaders who made a difference. Our RE is not just about retelling stories but about the Big Questions of life and faith and how faith helps people to live their daily lives.
We try to make RE creative and challenging so that our children develop their own opinions and make links and connections to all faiths and everyday lives. We are preparing our children to live in a diverse world whilst respecting each other’s beliefs and opinions. Our Core Values underpin this by being at the heart of everything we teach and the way we behave.
Our worship is at the heart of everything we do at St Margaret’s including our attitudes to each other and our learning. It is not separate to our lives at St Margaret’s but central to everything we do.
Our worship takes place each day either in the class or in the school hall and we meet for class worship, key stage worship and whole school worship.
Our children really enjoy our worship and frequently lead the prayers and readings and set up our school altar. Reflective/worship areas are set up in each classroom and around school. Each class has their own class prayer which is said daily before going home.
Each term our Key Stage 2 children visit St Margaret’s church as part of their RE work and take part in Christmas and Easter Services. In the Autumn Term we have a very special Remembrance Service.
In Key Stage 2 our children are always eager to be part of the SWITCH Team who work with our Church Worker on numerous projects.